National Hot Dog Day: Here’s What You Do in Chicago

The way I feel about “National Hot Dog Day” is similar to the way a drunk feels about New Year’s Eve – it’s “Amateur Night.”

Great dogs are around us every day of our lives in Chicago, but I’m sure there are people who wait for such an occasion in order to partake of all those “calories and carbs” without guilt and shame. Why anybody would ever feel these emotions about eating something so good is beyond me and always has been. Enjoy it while you’re here. Be a little bit sensible, but don’t obsess. As the man says in “Big Night” – “Bite your teeth into the ass of life and drag it to you!”

Besides, a Chicago style hot dog is like a salad, really. You have the onions, the sport peppers, the fresh slices of tomato, the cucumber or the dill spear, the green relish – you even have the salt that comes from a vegetable – celery salt. There you go. “I’ll just have a salad – charred, please.”

But today is a day that’s meant for purity. While other bloggers and trendy types promote hot dogs with pineapple salsa and arugula pesto (of all things) as a way of celebrating the day, I would like to make a small suggestion. If you get a hot dog or two today, make sure they are made of beef (not turkey or tofu) and make sure they have the quintessential Chicago-style ingredients.

These ingredients were put together for a reason – and that reason is this: because they make for an awesome taste experience! I don’t know if this is true anymore, with everybody having their own “signature” custom coffee choices and “having it their way,” but there was a time when you could not order a Big Mac without secret sauce. They simply would not let you. They would refuse to make it for you. A Big Mac has secret sauce. If you leave it out or put something else on it, it is no longer a Big Mac.

Some might think that’s barbaric and so far behind the times that it’s comical. I’ll tell you what’s comical: ordering a frappe double machiatto wet soy latte with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, a half packet of splenda in a venti cup with extra whipped cream and caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top with a shot of hazelnut and a nonfat steamed topper. And God help you if I’m behind you. I probably won’t be laughing, come to think of it.

Here’s a good list of place to go for a serviceable Chicago style hot dog from Chicagoist:

I can endorse all these places.

But here’s my real suggestion. Find a guy selling hot dogs off a cart. Tell him to drag it through the garden. Take a pack of original un-baked potato chips from the chip tree, and get a real Coke. Sit down on a bench or curb.





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